Ald. Carrie Austin (34th Ward) stands to speak at the Dec. 14, 2022, Chicago City Council meeting. (WTTW News)

Former Ald. CarrieAustin is now receiving more than $9,500 per month in pension payments for the rest of her life, according to records obtained by WTTW News from the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago. If Austin is convicted, she could lose her pension, since her conduct occurred as part of her official duties as an alderperson.

(WTTW News)

DCFS gained more than 100 employees between 2021 and 2022. Public health employees declined.

WTTW News analyzed state salary data and found some departments got smaller or had a noticeable uptick in employees leaving. Even in agencies that grew, employee churn was evident. We walk you through the numbers. 

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

The upgrade is likely to boost efforts by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to convince Chicago City Council members to support her budget, which she hopes to pass on Nov. 7.

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Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett faced pointed questions from members of the City Council’s Budget and Government Operations Committee on Thursday about the "advanced pension payment" proposal.

Chicago City Hall. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

In 2019, Chicago paid more than $1.31 billion to its four pension funds benefitting police officers, firefighters, municipal employees and laborers. In 2023, Chicago will pay more than $2.34 billion to the same four funds.

(Jürgen Polle / Pixabay)

Budget Director Susie Park unveiled the updated budget forecast during Wednesday’s meeting of the City Council’s Budget and Government Operations Committee, which holds a hearing to examine the city’s financial condition every quarter.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot presents her budget proposal for 2022 to the Chicago City Council on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to close a projected $733 million budget gap in 2022 relies on $385 million in federal relief funds and nearly $299 million in savings and efficiencies, but the plan contains “no new tax or significant fee increases” for Chicago residents, she said.

This Friday, Aug. 26, 2016 file photo shows a sign for the Illinois Teachers Retirement System in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo / Seth Perlman, File)

Pension systems for state government workers across the U.S. are in their best shape since the Great Recession began more than a dozen years ago, according to a study released Tuesday.

(Jürgen Polle / Pixabay)

Before the pandemic, Chicago finance officials projected that the city would eliminate its longstanding imbalance between revenues and expenditures and reach structural balance in 2023. In all, the pandemic cost the city $1.7 billion, complicating those efforts.

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Chicago owes $32.9 billion to its four employee pension funds representing police officers, firefighters, municipal employees and laborers, according to the 2020 Certified Annual Financial Report — an increase of nearly 3.5% from 2019. 

(Jürgen Polle / Pixabay)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has vowed to “force a reckoning” on the issue of pensions, which she called “the biggest problem” facing Chicago’s finances.

(WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was disappointed that Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law that gives a subset of Chicago firefighters the same retirement package as their peers, saying it will “result in a deeper financial burden to the taxpayers of Chicago.” Days earlier, he signed another law Lightfoot had pressured him to reject.

(WTTW News)

Some retired firefighters could see their pensions grow after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a measure to boost the annual cost-of-living increase added to their checks. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the measure would create an “unfunded mandate” that would force Chicago officials to raise taxes or cut services.

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (WTTW News)

Echoing statements made by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the state’s comptroller says stimulus funds will first go toward paying back the billions Illinois borrowed from the Federal Reserve early in the pandemic last year.

A billboard in Chicago promotes voting in favor of the so-called fair tax in the November 2020 election. (WTTW News)

Illinois voters in November rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the state to overhaul how it taxes income. Now one of Springfield’s top leaders is suggesting another swing at the effort. 

(WTTW News)

The head of the board handling the Chicago Teachers Union’s pension fund disclosed a toxic culture among trustees and claimed some union members had been pushing to hire former staffers of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.